There are nearly as many different types of car repairs as there are different types and models of cars on the road. Even for individual vehicle systems, such as the engine, transmission, and so on, there are numerous repairs available. There are also maintenance issues to consider. Almost every system on your vehicle requires maintenance to keep it running at peak performance. When you add it all up, maintaining and repairing a vehicle can be quite daunting for non-professional mechanics. None of this implies that you can’t, or, more importantly, that you shouldn’t, do some minor repairs around the house.
So without further ado, here’s a list of tools that will help you accomplish some minor home auto repairs.
1. Socket set
This is the most fundamental tool set that any mechanic requires. The majority of your vehicle is held together by nuts and bolts, and a good socket set will assist you in disassembling it. I’d suggest visiting Lowe’s, Home Depot, or Sears. They each have their own line of hand tools that are reasonably priced and come with a lifetime warranty. It’s difficult to go wrong with that! Furthermore, these stores will usually have a starter kit, or something similar, with a good selection of the basic sizes and drives that you’ll need to get the job done.
2. A Set of Wrenches
A good set of wrenches is going to go a long way toward helping you do any at home car repairs. They can be used in place of sockets in a variety of places, and sometimes, they’re the better option. There are a huge amount of sizes, types and even specialty wrenches available to buy. For most people there are only 2 sets that matter. The first is a metric set. These generally come in the size range of 10mm-19mm. That’s going to accommodate pretty much anything you’ll need for basic auto repair. The other set is a standard set. This will come in the size range of 3/8in-3/4in. On most modern vehicles the metric sizes are what you’ll be using, but there are some bolts on some cars that are standard size. You’ll want to have them around just in case. There’s not much that will frustrate your repair attempts more than having the job half done, and then realizing that you don’t have the right tool to finish the job.
3. A Full Set of Screwdrivers
This appears to be so common that it shouldn’t be on this list, but that’s not the case. If you need a screwdriver to remove a clamp or a clip with a phillips head, there isn’t much else that will do. At least not without a significant amount of effort. When I say “full set of screwdrivers,” I’m referring to the tool’s blade. Phillips head and flat head screwdrivers come in a variety of sizes. If you need a size 3 phillips head but only have a size one, I guarantee you won’t be able to remove the fastener, and you’ll most likely damage it to the point where the right size tool will no longer work.
4. A Code Reader
When it comes to a basic tool set for use at home, most people would never think of this. Nonetheless, it is just as important as the rest of the tools on the list. There is now a wide range of code readers available on the market. They range in price from about $50 to about $7,000. Don’t worry, any option that costs more than $75-$100 is likely to be overkill. With a good $50 code reader, you can see what codes have been set that have activated your check engine light and erase them yourself. If there is a persistent failure, the light will turn back on, and you will need to seek professional assistance. There are also a plethora of websites that can assist you with the codes that activated your check engine.
5. A Jack and Jack Stands
This can be used for anything from changing the oil to replacing the front and rear brakes to changing a flat tire, among other things. The jack and jack stands are usually sold as a set and can be purchased for a reasonable price at Lowe’s, Home Depot, or Sears. Typically in the $150-$200 range. Your owner’s manual will show you where you can safely lift the vehicle and then set the jack stand to secure the vehicle’s weight. Make sure to use something to prevent the vehicle from rolling by blocking the wheels that are still on the ground. When your vehicle is even slightly off the ground, safety is an absolute must! If you’re not sure how to safely jack the vehicle, watch videos for your specific vehicle, seek assistance, and, last but not least, if you have a jack, use it.
This is a very basic set of tools that will help you save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars over time. Keep in mind that you’ll also need a good pair of pliers and, if you intend to change your own oil, an oil filter wrench. Overall, you’ll be surprised at how many repairs you can do at home with this set, and it’s a good idea to keep a smaller version of it in your car trunk in case of an emergency. If you find that a job is too difficult for you after doing some research on it, I recommend that you seek professional assistance. Happy fixing!
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